Lionel Messi has been handed a one-match suspension for Argentina's 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign as a result of the red card he was shown during this summer's Copa America tournament, South American soccer federation CONMEBOL announced Tuesday.
Messi, 32, was sent off in the third-place match against Chile after a largely innocuous incident saw him and defender Gary Medel bump chests.
The Albiceleste captain was also fined $1,500 for criticizing both the officiating and quality of the playing surfaces at the competition. The Barcelona superstar lashed out at the refereeing after Brazil, the host nation and eventual champion, eliminated his country in the semifinals.
"We were ready for more, they did not let us get to the final," Messi said after the loss to the Selecao earlier in July. "Corruption and referees do not allow people to enjoy football and it ruined a little bit."
He added: "Unfortunately, I think it is prepared for Brazil (to win Copa America). I hope that the VAR and the referees have nothing to do and that Peru can compete because they have the team to win, but I see it difficult."
Messi later apologized for his comments, but CONMEBOL upheld his automatic one-match ban for the red card and added the fine.